Experimental Archeology

Experimental Archeology: Scientific Techniques and Recipes from the Iberian Peninsula (Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries)

Rafael Javier Díaz Hidalgo

This project focused on the assessment of scientific and technical knowledge gained in late medieval Spain in various fields of knowledge, and its application in practical terms in trades. Rafael Javier Díaz Hidalgo conducted research using methods from experimental archeology. This methodology allows researchers to reconstruct the processes described in recipes from Hispanic manuscripts preserved between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, in order to verify the validity and effectiveness of their contents, in particular concerning industrial techniques and the artistic world of which they are part. The research objectives were, firstly, to compile a collection of recipes from Europe dating from the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, and compile an inventory of materials and techniques used. Secondly, Díaz Hidalgo facilitated an archeological reconstruction of several of the processes outlined in these recipes using the materials, tools, techniques, and processes as described. By verifying the accuracy of these prescriptions, he aimed to establish whether the most successful of these procedures refer to the same processes as described in other texts of European origin, all in all enabling a clearer evaluation of the degree of innovation occurring in late medieval society.